Mark Bradac is in his element. It’s a beautiful July afternoon and a warm breeze drives through the open door at Economy Exchange Pawn Shop. The store at 857 Wyandotte E. is busy and Bradac wheels and deals with several customers. A slight woman carries a large TV into the shop. She struggles to lift it onto the counter.
“Made in Taiwan,” says Bradac, as he looks over the unit. “Does it still work?”
She looks at him incredulously and nods her head yes.
Windsor’s very own Zen Pawn Master is set to make his television debut on the History Channel on Monday, July 18 at 9 p.m. Pawnathon Canada is the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. version of the show Pawn Stars.
It’s been several months in the making and Bradac is excited about appearing on the show. Yet, I can see in his eyes a twinge of uncertainty. He laughs off his nervousness and talks excitedly about the new song he has written 21st Century Pawn Man. He hopes to use it in some way to supplement the show.
“I have to figure out how which way I’m going to pitch the song and to whom,” said Bradac. “I’m sure it would fit into the American version of the show.”
He plays me the song. It’s hard rock and it’s incredibly infectious. Recorded at SLR studios in Windsor by Marty Bak, with the help of Charlie Lambrick, I predict we’ll be hearing this particular song soon on the airwaves.
Two heavily tattooed men carry in a set of black lacquered drums from a pick-up truck sitting outside the entrance. The high hats clang against a cymbal stand.
After auditioning for the show last winter, Bradac and his Pawn Posse we’re invited to take part in the three-day taping of the show in Toronto. The Pawn Posse is made up of Jeff Ferrari, James Cvetanovic and Jay Butler.
“Jeff is the gold and jewellery guy, James is the painting expert and Jay is the vintage instrument and furniture guy,” said Bradac. “These three guys are experts in their respective genres.”
I asked Bradac if he had a particularly memorable moment during taping of the series.
“I had a guy come in with a ‘20s style telephone with no guts or nothing inside,” said Bradac.
“So I offered him $20. He took it.”
The fellow comes back an hour later in a panic. The phone he had sold Bradac was his wife’s and he needed to buy it back. She was mad as hell he has sold the phone and she wanted it back.
Bradac said he would sell the phone back to the guy but he wanted $30 plus the interest.
“The poor guy had to go back outside and ask his wife for an extra ten bucks to buy the phone back,” balked Bradac with laughter.
Then Bradac hears the producer say in the back ground to bring the irate wife onto the set.
“She’s upset, crying and bummed out … so I say well how about we flip for the phone here on TV. So, of course, I win the flip. Now, I have the telephone, the money, the extra 10 bucks and the interest. She’s really bummed out now. Then I throw them out,” roars Bradac with a laugh.
“Now doesn’t that make for great TV!”
Then, according to Bradac, he asked the couple to come back onto the set.
He gave them back everything.
“I’m a softy, I’m the poorest pawn broker you’ll ever meet,” laughs Bradac. “Cause I got a heart.”
Pawnathon Canada debuts Monday July 18 with back to back episodes starting at 9pm.